Brand building using the power of LinkedIn – Special Edition by Jason Greenwood
Brand Building Using the Power of LinkedIn
Digital Marketing & eCommerce guru and currently Commerce Manager at HealthPost NZ, Jason Greenwood, shares his experience around brand building and the opportunity that awaits for business and brand owners with LinkedIn…
For those that prefer to watch video instead, check out Jason’s 16 minute video recap below.
My name is Jason Greenwood and I am currently eCommerce Manager at HealthPost NZ. We are NZ’s largest online retailer of natural health products. I help ensure our websites and associated systems and digital experiences are top notch and working well for our customers.
I have worked in digital for over 15 years both merchant (including my own eComm pure play) and agency side, across a variety of digital marketing and technical roles and projects. I also create industry specific content (mostly video), speak at conferences and have many friends and colleagues working in digital. I absolutely love what I do and deeply appreciate the career I’ve been fortunate enough to forge in this space.
StarShipIT asked me if I could provide some content for their Blog which would be of value to their customers in the lead up to the busy Christmas season. The topic selection was up to me and so I tried hard to think of something that I hadn’t really discussed much before across all the platforms I regularly publish on or at least something I hadn’t gone into great depth on before. Amidst the massive ground shift in retail that’s underway, I also wanted to share something I felt was relatively simple and immediately actionable (tactically) while also being valuable as part of a longer term strategy.
So here goes…
Internet Use is Changing Rapidly
Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll realise that there is a quantum shift underway in the way consumers are now using the Internet. There are huge demographic populations that went from virtually zero computing experience, devices in-home or internet access to having an internet connected computer (smartphone) in the palm of their hand – all in the last few years.
Over 50% of screen time on smartphones is spent on social media. This is the current state of the internet and no matter what happens from here (VR, AR, AI, whatever), internet use will never be the same.
Internet Usage Changes Follow a Pattern
You also have to understand the way these things always evolve. In the early days of social, the over 30’s almost universally said that social media was a fad (not the trend it became) for kids and that they saw no use for it personally.
Now consider these stats in relation to Facebook alone:
- Over 2 billion monthly ACTIVE users
- Over 1 Billion daily active mobile users
- The 45+ age demographic makes up roughly 17+% of Facebook users
This demonstrates just how wrong all the early naysayers were. And the demo is aging UP as the early adopters get older and younger demos move to other social platforms. This pattern is repeating with Instagram, Snapchat, and all other social platforms. The user base starts out skewing young (tech early adopters) and ages up.
I’m not here to talk about Facebook however, I’m merely using it to prove a very important point: forget what you think you know about internet use and consumer behaviour and focus on what IS happening because unless you do, you’ll almost always be wrong. And when you’re wrong, the businesses and organisations that you are a part of lose as a result.
LinkedIn as a Powerful Marketing Platform
LinkedIn tells me I have been a member since November 23, 2009. That makes sense because right about that time I was looking at selling a pure-play online business I had co-founded and ran for the previous 6 years and was debating whether to start a new business or go to work for someone else in the digital space instead.
As it turns out I went digital agency side for the next 5 years and LinkedIn I believe played a key part in not only my securing the position but also allowed me to see where this professionally orientated social network was headed over the coming years.
LinkedIn started way back in December 2002 (basically 2003) so I was some 7 years late to the LinkedIn party. At the time I joined, LinkedIn was primarily an online CV/resume platform. It allowed members to upload all of the same kinds of information one would normally put on a CV and additionally, search and network with others based on this information.
For those of you running B2C brands you might be thinking, why would I want to think about LinkedIn at all? Isn’t LinkedIn just an online resume/CV? Isn’t LinkedIn mainly for recruiters, job seekers, B2B businesses and market research?
Well before you tune out, consider this about LinkedIn (thanks to my mate Christo for his contribution here):
- With the introduction of video (introduced late August 2017), users now have the opportunity to grow/build a personal brand around their profession or business on LinkedIn like never before.
- The next step for LinkedIn, is to integrate video into ads. Currently the ad platform is extremely limited. The targeting is very average in comparison to its closest rivals, but with the integration of video, more “Business Community” based content can reach potential customers.
- LinkedIn upside = 80-100% organic reach potential (Facebook comparison: around 5%-15%) This means, a good quality video (content), has a better chance to reach a larger audience – Platform vs Platform.
- Heard of Facebook pixel? Well did you know (not many people do) you can have a LinkedIn Insight tag that allows remarketing on LinkedIn?!
And consider these LinkedIn usage stats:
- 57% of LinkedIn traffic is mobile user traffic
- 56% of LinkedIn users are men, 44% are women (Facebook skews more heavily female by comparison with roughly 53% of Facebook users being female)
- 94% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn to distribute content, with content consumption on the platform increasing 21% in the past two years
- There are over 7M registered users in Australia
- There are over 1M registered users in New Zealand.
Engagement – the Metric that Matters
LinkedIn has traditionally had poor ‘engagement rate’ metrics vs other social networks. However, the introduction of native video has totally changed the game and I am seeing engagement spike on the platform like never before. I am personally getting the highest engagement rates on my content on LinkedIn vs any other social media platform (YouTube included).
Since native video is so new to LinkedIn, I suggest you create a ‘video playlist page’ as a pulse article like I have done and then update it every time you release a new video. This will keep the page fresh (assuming you upload new videos regularly) and ensure your followers can always find your video content easily since they can bookmark the page.
LinkedIn is also starting to skew DOWN demographically in age as the popular functionality from other social platforms is emulated in LinkedIn. This is the reverse of what we often see with other platforms and a golden opportunity for brands that get a jump on LinkedIn NOW. There is a giant LinkedIn attention ‘Land Grab’ taking place and the sooner you plant your flag, the better. All the ‘professionals’ on LinkedIn are also your potential customers, never forget that.
Ones to Watch
Here are some of the people I’ve seen crushing it on LinkedIn right now that you can draw inspiration from:
- String Nguyen – AU
- Chris Bates – AU
- Robett Hollis – NZ
- Jake Millar – NZ
- Gary Vaynerchuk (the guy literally crushes it everywhere on social media, THE one to watch IMO) – USA
- Brittany Hoffman – USA
- Justin Wu – USA
- Tim Queen – UK
- Oleg Vishnepolsky – UK
- Red Bull
- DC Shoes
Only 2 Kiwis on the list! It’s by no means exhaustive but it is telling. I spend a huge amount of time on LinkedIn and these are the only ones that have stood out and got my attention. Why is that? More Kiwis need to step up, get in the content game and make their presence felt – for themselves and the brands they represent!
Since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in mid 2016 for an eye watering 26 Billion (yes with a B), we can expect the deep pool of resources at Microsoft to continue to benefit LinkedIn and its users and advertisers. It’s the jewel in Microsoft’s social media crown and you can bet they are in it to win it in terms of attention and growth.
As the spotlight of social media innovation continues to turn towards LinkedIn, I would encourage you to look at this powerful platform through fresh eyes and just START. Short form posts, long form articles, native video, linked posts – whatever you do, start today, there is nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Getting started with LinkedIn is like planting trees, the best time to start was ten years ago, the second best time to start is today….now go plant some LinkedIn trees!
eCommerce Manager, HealthPost NZ